only seeds

the sound of steps on hot concrete i file in closely behind a young couple trying to make myself invisible i walk they walk we walk through a gate beside a fence over a river through a gate into a concrete jungle cracking, crumbling, crying beneath the sky beneath the sun everywhere. i collide with mass and volume hunger and need fear and desolation depth and echoes a world that is still moving the knot unties for the man who waits for me to take me into the center of the real world safely with everyone to bring me back from the center of the real world safely with everyone everywhere. the echoes remind me they all came from somewhere so we could come from here we pass my Tia Abuele's sister begging for her life the sound of footsteps on concrete through a gate beside a fence over a river through a gate out of a concrete jungle cracking, crumbling, crying beneath the sky beneath the sun everywhere. A small writing for "only seeds", an action that explores personhood on a 21st century border. The action will bring to life a person's right to grow no matter where they are from, no matter where they are. Read project statement here. From the journal: The last time I went to Juarez I was almost 8 years younger than I am today. I traveled to Durango to meet my friend's family, stopping in Juarez going there and coming back. I wanted to go before I left to the Himalayas. Before I grew new eyes. That was the last time I crossed the bridge at the center of the real world... At the start of 2015, I said I would go back. To research and observe. To stay true to the stories I wanted to find and the ideas that came from them. I had to work hard for the last 18 months, to find my courage and justify my commitment to my work. I have a daughter who is only 2 years old and the thought of her losing her mother was one I had to reconcile and work through to understand how exactly I could actually go. to. Juarez. I cannot say that I was unafraid as I crossed on foot to meet my friend who waited for me on the other side of the international bridge. My throat was knotted as I clinched the strap on my tiny bag, walking carefully behind a young couple. I tried to look a part of them. My heart beat ferociously out of my chest as I tried to make myself invisible. Safe. I crossed through the gate on the other side. I was so ready to feel my heartbeat slow that my eyes found my friend immediately as he leaned comfortably on a wall in the shade. I hopped off the curb and ran quickly toward him. Exhaling long and strong on my way. I nervously babbled about something and we began to walk down the main strip to explore. I watched everything carefully as he told me stories about buildings and places he used to go. The stories and his words lingered in my ears, simultaneously in front of and behind the city's sounds. Some of the buildings were vacant now, destroyed, abandoned... desolate. I tried hard to control my brain and heart which were each exploding from the sounds, color, pace and sight of it all. In that way, Juarez hadn't changed a bit. We made a giant loop around downtown, stopping in shops and markets. With every step I worked harder to release the hope of seeing the world that was so clearly singing in my memory, in my heart's memory. No musicians. No food prepared on the street. A line formed in a courtyard. Men stood in single file, waiting for something that must have been religious. Beside that, my friend showed me the school where he learned to play guitar. He remembered a small book store that had been there. I looked and darted immediately toward the open door of the store. We looked around and stepped back outside into the heat. The sun had begun to tighten all the air around us. Women in their skirts sat selling herbs and spices. I tried hard not to hold my gaze too long. I held onto the words as my friend kept sharing stories with me. His voice became a metronome as we walked and walked. Everywhere, people sat and waited in the heat. People walked quickly in and out of everything. We visited what used to be the market. I commented that if I was a "visiting" artist I would simply buy the beautiful, colorful flowing skirts from the market instead of making them. In my head I said, "You are visiting." We kept walking. We stopped in a mural space, where collectives had painted high walls on the back sides of buildings. Color. Sound. Creatures. My friend took my picture in the emptiness. Somehow it felt full and exploding. We walked out a different corridor where I found women behind caged windows, weaving and knitting every color of yarn on earth. They sat in a row at a long table, surrounded in yarn. I looked through two layers of fencing and gate to see them in pieces, augmented and removed. We kept walking. We went looking for an old haunt, only to find it was closed. We walked back down the road to find a new haunt. As we entered, there sat three women eating tacos and slurping caldo in a tiny make shift restaurant. The chairs and tables, perhaps even the people, were a decoy for the business behind it... in case the narcos came knocking. We had an ice cold drink. I couldn't stop staring at the pin up girls on the walls. None of them were naked. Each of them pulled me closer. We talked more and kept walking down the road. I was hunting now. I needed fabric. We entered every store we could that carried fabric. Color from floor to ceiling. Every type of fabric and sewable material anyone's heart could desire stood in bolts, lay in piles and sat on table tops. It was heaven. I chose the colors and texture I needed. Of course, there was so much beauty in that place, in the moment of standing in the middle of it all... I couldn't really choose at all. So I took a small, light weight collection of fabrics that could be used to cross the bridge safely, without getting eaten by the sun. I steadied myself and remembered that I needed the fabric to remind me of the women we had seen sitting cross legged, selling herbs, spices and supplements in the centro. One trip to the fabric store would not be enough. I wanted it all, color, pattern, weight, to remind me of the sweat that dripped down my back as we walked the streets. The sweat on everyone's body as they walked in the midday desert sun. The sweat on those women's beautiful big bellies. I wanted the fabric to carry that work, that journey. After surviving the fabric store with my heart still in my chest, we walked down the road some more. Having accomplished the major "thing" of the mission, I began to let go... I began to surrender to the sound and smell of the heat and the streets. To the energy of the people. To the quiet, steady chaos and light. We walked longer. With each step, I wanted to stay more. I wanted to stay longer. I wanted to be lost. The place had been reborn for me. Having only echoes of a magic place left behind nearly a decade ago, by an entirely different pair of eyes... a different heart... a different soul... I worked hard to control everything I was feeling as it swelled with every drop of sweat my skin let out... the desperation... the sadness... the fear... the joy... the loneliness... the guilt... the memories... the love... My chest went booming. My eyes saw into my chest. It was full... singing the same way the fabric stores sang. Color everywhere.


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